Right Steps & Poui Trees


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Remembrance Day 2018: Jamaica

Things come to your notice in a variety of ways, some of them unexpected. I was reminded of the Remembrance Day ceremony at National Heroes Park by a Ministry of National Security tweet on Friday.MNS tweet re JDF Remembrance Day rehersal - 9-11-18

Today being the hundredth anniversary of Armistice Day and never having been before, I decided to go to the memorial ceremony. There was adequate parking at National Heroes Park, and as I walked inside the entrance, I was encouraged to make a donation to the Annual Poppy Appeal, which I did.IMG_20181111_194635_resized_20181111_074759473 - Remembrance Day 2018 poppies

While I was waiting for the ceremony to begin, I saw a gentleman walking around with poppies and heard him telling someone at the end of the row I was sitting in that he was 85 and that people called him the Poppy Man. I intended to speak with him at the end of the ceremony to ask his name, but unfortunately I didn’t see him later.Remembrance Day 2018 ceremony

The National Memorial Service was scheduled to start at 10:55am, with the official arrivals beginning earlier.

 

(This is a link to a copy of the full programme for the Remembrance Day 2018 service.)

Arrivals

 

Time, like an ever rolling stream,

Bears all its sons away

– O God, our help in ages past – Opening Hymn

Period of Silence & The Last Post

 

(The period of silence commences and ends with a one-gun Salute. The Last Post is sounded by the JDF buglers.)

The Exhortation was read by Mr Gerald Manhertz, who I was told after the ceremony is 90-years-old and is one of the few living Jamaicans to have served in World War II.Remembrance Day 2018 f

Remembrance Day 2018 - The Exhortation

The National Anthem was sung before the Wreath Laying Ceremony.Remembrance Day 2018 - Jamaican flag

Justice, Truth be ours forever,

Jamaica, Land we love.

– National Anthem

Wreath Laying Ceremony

His Excellency The Governor General Greets the War Veterans on Parade

Once the ceremony ended, there were the official departures…

Remembrance Day 2018 o

…after which people milled around, talking and taking photographs….Remembrance Day 2018 p

I am glad that I attended the Memorial Service today. Acts of remembering are important to a society. P1340943 Remembrance Day 2018

 

 

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Lightning Over Kingston & A Few Other Things To See

I was up in the hills with family last week, in the Blue Mountains, probably my favourite place in the world. One night I sat on a balcony, watching lightning flashing over Kingston just after sunset. I called my granddaughter to come and see & she climbed up on my lap to watch with me. After the first flash of lightning lit up the sky, she said, “More!” I explained to her that the lightning doesn’t come when we want it to, but that if we sit patiently and watch, we might see it again. And we did, a few more times. P1340070 sunset with lightning 10-10-18

There are so many smaller things to see also, like new mango leaves in the morning rain…P1340164 new mango leaves in morning rain - 10-18…moss growing on roof shingles…P1340111 - roof shingles and moss 10-18…and cat tails (Acalypha hispida) sparkling with dew…P1330902 - cat tails 10-18

My love for the Blue Mountains goes back to childhood summer holidays, when we used to spend time at the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) camp at Newcastle. It was possible to rent some of the cottages and my siblings, cousins and I remember those times as magical.P1330982 - Newcastle 10-18Just part of Jamaica’s Blue Mountain range…

Blue Mountains panorama 10-18


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One Coconut Tree at Sunset

I normally take photos of this coconut tree at sunrise. I must have taken hundreds of photos of it over the years…against spectacular red skies or pink clouds…or lit by sunlight as the sun comes over the mountains…or in silhouette…sheltering doves or baldpates or on one occasion a very steely-eyed johncrow. But today I photographed the coconut tree, not as the sun was rising, but as it was setting…coconut tree 12-9-18

This meant that I was standing on my roof with my back to the setting sun…P1330295 coconut tree…seeing coconuts at various stages of development…P1330297 - coconut tree…some very small ones, just starting out….P1330298 - coconut treeAnd all the while, behind me, the sun continued to set…dig


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Perfectly Prickly Patterns on #WorldPhotographyDay

If you want to learn more about the Fibonacci sequence in nature, this isn’t the place to do it. It is a fascinating topic and there are many sites on the internet with all you could hope to learn. There are even some sites dealing specifically with the Fibonacci sequence in cacti. In this post, however, I am simply going to share some cacti photos…perfectly prickly patterns.IMG_20180722_075340_resized_20180722_040448893 cactus

One Sunday morning during a recent trip to London, I visited the arrid room of the Barbican Conservatory with my daughter Kimi. I spent a happy hour or so looking at details of these plants through a camera lens.IMG_20180722_080128_resized_20180722_040951888 cactus

Cacti are definitely strange-looking plants that could have been designed by sci-fi writers to inhabit dystopian landscapes. Certainly the natural environments in which many of them originally evolved and thrive are often stark and harsh. And their characteristic spines present a formidable defense mechanism, as anyone unfortunate enough to have had an upfront and personal encounter with a cactus can attest.

 

IMG_20180722_075450_resized_20180722_040630775 cactus

They are also remarkably beautiful plants, often as a result of their prickly patterns… viewed from a distance…IMG_20180722_075757_resized_20180722_040807501 cactus

…or a bit closer…IMG_20180722_075748_resized_20180722_040735574 cactus

There are wide varieties of cacti, with some not fitting the typical image at all…”windswept” spines, for example…bty

…or something rather like a sponge or a brain…IMG_20180722_080028_resized_20180722_040919794 cactus

Their flowers can be beautiful also, in a traditional way…IMG_20180722_075417_resized_20180722_040604875 cactus

…or they can be distinctly odd…IMG_20180722_075542_resized_20180722_040700728 cactus

But always such intriguing patterns. I must spend some time photographing the cacti in my own garden at home soon.IMG_20180722_074858_resized_20180722_040220221 cactusIMG_20180722_074745_1_resized_20180722_040114728 cactus

After the arrid room and its cacti, Kimi and I went on to brunch, which was beautiful in another manner entirely!bty

 


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A Venerable Mango Tree: On A Sunday

The morning after Gilbert had raked its eye across Jamaica’s spine, blasting through decades of complacency and careless wishes to experience a real hurricane, I went to see how a nearby neighbour was doing. Part of his roof was sitting in our front yard and when I got to his house, I could see that all of the roof had been blown off during the storm. He was all right, he said. He and his sister, both of them quite elderly, had retreated to the only part of the house with a concrete slab roof and his family had called and were on their way to help.

IMG_20180701_141815_resized_20180701_043513289 (1) Bombay mango tree

But, he told me, I could expect the next mango season to be a bountiful one. The hurricane would have pruned branches, shaken up the roots and new life would be coursing through the trees that had survived.

And he was right. The massive old Bombay mango tree in our back yard has never borne fruit as abundantly as it did in the post- Gilbert season. Not in the thirty years since Sept 1988. IMG_20180701_142833_resized_20180701_043207897 Bombay mango tree

It was an old and venerable tree even then. Older and even more venerable now. It has had encounters with subsequent storms that have brushed past since. IMG_20180701_143203_resized_20180701_042947057 Bombay mango treeThis year hasn’t been a very good season for the old Bombay tree, in fact. Relatively few in number, with a high incidence of worms in the ripe fruit.P1310264 Bombay mangoes

The height of the hurricane season is still to come.

I don’t believe that there have to be storms for there to be good crops, not literally or figuratively. But my Bombay mango tree may be aligned with my old (long deceased) neighbour’s words.IMG_20180701_143311_resized_20180701_042805015 Bombay mango tree


The Sky One Evening

Yesterday evening I went up on the roof to watch the sun go down, something I often do. By the time I got there, the sun had already set, but the sky remembered!dig

Every sunset is different. Even the same sunset sky goes through many moods, vibrant shades of orange giving way to subtle shades of pink.Pink sky at sunset 2

Eventually all sign of the sun is gone, leaving the night to electric lights and Venus…P1310214 night lights